Buying Guide & Best Miter Saw Reviews 2019

best miter saw

Few tools have been with us longer than those that involve sawing and cutting. They are among the earliest stone tools humans created all over the world, and from those earliest forms to the most powerful motorized saws today, their objective has remained largely the same – to allow us to cut through objects with ease.

The materials we cut determine the type of saw we use. For woodworking, construction and remodeling experts all over the world, few types of saws have proven to be more versatile and necessary than miter saws, also known as drop saws and chop saws:

These types of motorized saws are responsible for creating some of the most precise and thus useful joint cuts in modern construction projects. Our expert reviews will help you find the best miter saw for your needs.

Our buying guide provides you expert tips on things to consider when selecting a tool and comparing different models.

Best Miter Saw Comparison

In this article, we are comparing the following miter saws:

Dewalt DWS779
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
(12 inches)
Homecraft H26-260L
Compound Miter Saw
(10 inches)
Ryobi 9 Amp 7-1/4 in.
Compound Miter Saw
(7 1/4 inches)
Hitachi C10FCH2
Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker
(10 inches)
High-End 12-inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Price: $$$
Rating: 4 / 5
A good 10-inch all-rounder compound miter saw
Price: $$
Rating: 3.7 / 5
Great portable compound miter saw for small projects
Price: $
Rating: 3.7 / 5
Our pick:
Great 10-inch compound saw, perfect for almost all jobs
Price: $$
Rating: 4.3 / 5
Our Dewalt reviewOur Homecraft reviewOur Ryobi reviewOur Hitachi review

Before we introduce these saws with their respective pros and cons, we will present a few criteria and considerations that are relevant when choosing the right miter saw.

Miter Saw Buying Guide

Miter saws have become very popular tools for woodworking and other uses in recent years. This is because of their versatility and their usability for different kinds of projects. We have summarized a few characteristics, features and potential considerations that you will want to be aware of when choosing your next miter saw.

Standard vs Compound vs Sliding Compound Miter Saw – What Is the Difference

There are three different types of miter saws, and all of them have slightly different uses and come with their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Standard Miter Saw

The “standard” type is usually the least expensive option which makes it a perfect option for beginners and those who do not intend to perform complex cuts.

What Is a Standard Miter Saw

Standard miter saws have a fixed blade that always cuts vertically. A scale and clamping system on the base plate allows wood to be cut at different angles typically 45 degrees for making right-angled joints or other angles for specific jobs.

What Is a Standard Miter Saw Used For

This tool can be used for cutting trims and producing miter cuts as well as crosscuts onto wood and other material. While the standard miter saws are good for simpler cuts, they are also limited to miter cuts as they do not have a bevel option. This means you will not be able to make a variety of different cuts.

Compound Miter Saw

If you need an adjustable blade or intend to cut bevels, you will want to consider this type of saw.

What Is a Compound Miter Saw

Compound miter saws are similar to the standard option but have an important additional feature: Their blade is adjustable.

This allows to cut at various angles, not just vertically, which increases the versatility compared to a standard miter saw.

What Is a Compound Miter Saw Used For

Compound miter saws are used to cut wood and other material in different angles, an ability that sets it apart from standard drop saws. It is also used for thicker types of wood that need to be cut into chops.

An area where compound miter saws are often used is bevel cutting: A bevel cut is a tilted type of cut. Compound miter saws are adjustable and can produce single or dual bevels.

Sliding Compound Miter Saws

A sliding compound miter saw is the most versatile type of miter saws and probably the first choice for (semi)professional woodworkers although it comes at a higher price.

What Is a Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Sliding miter saws have a horizontal sliding arm that is fixed to the saw blade assembly. The saw blade can then be pushed through the wood to be cut.

What Is a Sliding Compound Miter Saw Used For

This type of saw combines the advantages of the standard and the compound models – i.e. cutting wood at 45-degree or various other angles. In addition, it is equipped with a sliding arm that leverages the cutting power – this allows to saw much thicker chunks wood than standard miter saws.

Features of Miter Saws

Laser Guide System

Having a laser guided system can be very useful to enhance the accuracy of cuts: A laser projection will show you exactly where the blade is going to touch and cut the workpiece. However, it is not an essential and a beginner might not necessarily need it. If you are experienced with miter saws, you probably might not want to miss it though.

Dust Collecting System

The dust collecting system varies between the different brands. Many saws come with an attached dust bag but some of them might not be as effective as others.

When choosing a saw, you will want to reflect on how important this feature is for you: When you are going to use the saw outside, it might not matter as much as when you have a workshop or barn. In any case, it is recommended to wear a mask when sawing.

Size

The most common miter saws come with blades of 8 to 12 inches. You may consider the size and hardness of the wood you are going to work on: the larger the saw, the larger the potential length and depth of a cut. The larger machines often come with a more powerful motor as well. While 8-inch saws are models for rather small and fine woodworking projects, powerful 12-inch miters are well-equipped to also cut larger chunks and workpieces. Somewhere in the middle are the 10-inch tools. They are a good and less expensive alternative to the 12-inch saws if the size is sufficient for your needs.

In case you are looking for a smaller drop saw, check out our dedicated 8 ½ sliding miter saw reviews.

Motor Type

The more powerful the motor the thicker one harder the material your saw will be able to cut. The usual amperage range for miter saws is between 10 and 15 A.

When comparing the amperage of saws, you should consider the type and strength of the wood you are usually working on. Beginners might start with a less powerful saw. However, advanced DIYers will want to consider that using a tool that is too strong for a job is usually better than using one not powerful enough.

Blade

Even more than for the selection of a saw, the material you are working with matters when determining the right blade: Miter saws will usually come with a standard blade that works for a number of different materials but probably will not be ideal for fine wood cuts. For these uses, you will have to get additional high-quality blades that are thinner and sharper than standard blades. Be aware that higher quality usually comes with a slightly higher price tag but often yields a smoother result and more effective working.


Miter Saw Blades.
Find these and other blades on Amazon.

Safety

As for every kind of tool and machine you are using, miter-sawing has some risks and requires a second thought on working safety (source). You can prevent accidents by using the saw properly – read more in our instructions – but also by taking safety features into account when choosing your saw. Electric brakes and fence guards are crucial for that and are nowadays kind of standard features of miter saws from reputable brands.

Comfort and Ergonomy

When you are using your miter saw intensely, frequently or for a couple of hours, you might want to think about the ease and convenience of their use. These tools tend to cause vibrations in any case but their intensity varies among the different models. Also, check out the ergonomy of the handle – follow the Amazon links in this posts and learn other users’ long-term experience with the model you are interested in.

Setting Up a Miter Saw

You should choose a safe place to operate your miter saw. Secure it onto a sturdy workbench or table. Get to know your saw before first use. Different branded saws have different adjustments, knobs and switches for adjusting the cut. All saws will have a locking mechanism that is used to lock the blade down when not in use. Unlock this mechanism, usually a spring-loaded pin and lift the blade up. Get to know the path of the blade as it is lowered so you will know exactly where it will cut, and where to keep your fingers well away from!

Check the circular blade is secure and tightly fixed. If there is a manual or handbook that comes with the saw, read it.

Miter Saw Reviews

DEWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • 15 amps
  • ​Captures 75% of dust
  • ​Exclusive black fence design
  • ​3.800 RPMs
  • ​12 inch double bevel blade
  • ​Linear ball bearings for accurate alignment
  • ​3 year warranty

The 12-inch Dewalt sliding compound miter saw is a little a bit on the pricey side, but if you are using a miter saw on a regular basis, it is well worth the initial investment. With a 15 amp motor and 3,800 rpms, the powerful Dewalt saw is well equipped for a broad range of uses. It comes with a dust collector that is claimed to catch at least 75% of produced dust which will help you keep your workshop or garage clean.

The double bevel sliding compound saw from Dewalt will handle almost any cutting job you might have, ranging from classic miter cuts to complex bevels. A high degres of accuracy is possible thanks to the linear ball bearings. As you would have expected from such a reputable brand, this sliding compound miter saw ticks all the marks when it comes to safety measures. At the time of writing, Dewalt grants a three-year warranty for this model.

DEWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Sarah Jones

Features
Durability
Price

Summary

High-End 12-inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Price: $$$

4

Homecraft H26-260L Compound Miter Saw (by Delta Power Tools)

  • Lightweight and portable
  • ​10 inch blade and 120 volts
  • 1,800 Watts, i.e. 15 Amps
  • ​Ergonomic handle for improved safety
  • ​Works with nearly all miter saw stands
  • ​Great for beginners
  • ​Easy to assemble
  • ​Quieter than other options
  • Laser cutting sight for improved accuracy

This 10-inch compound miter saw from Delta Tools is a lightweight and ergonomic option that proves to be great for beginners and those looking for a good 10-inch model. It provides great precision at a reasonable price which makes this compound miter saw a good choice for the casual woodworker and DIYer. Not only does it come with a lot of great features, it is also easy to use and set up – which is an advantage if you have never worked with a miter saw before.

The  Delta Power Tools S26-262L Compound Miter Saw is quieter than other compound saws. Yet the motor is still powerful enough to get even hardwood jobs done. It also comes with a battery-operated laser cutting sight that will help you perform accurate cuts.

The list built-in safety features meet our expectations: The power switch is lockable which prevents accidents during breaks and with children around. When it is time to change the blades, there is an easy fixation lock that ensures that the change will be done safely. All in all, this miter saw is ideal for DIYers on beginner or intermediate level as it is safe and easy to use, affordable and versatile.

Homecraft H26-260L Compound Miter Saw

Sarah Jones

Features
Durability
Price

Summary

A good 10-inch all-rounder compound miter saw

Price: $$

3.7

Ryobi 9 Amp 7-1/4 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser​

  • 7 ¼ inch miter saw
  • 9 amp motor
  • ​Exactline adjustable laser alignment
  • ​Horizontal handle for comfort
  • ​Cross cut capacity
  • ​Battery powered
  • ​Lightweight

The Ryobi miter saw is a basic option with an affordable price tag. This makes it an interesting alternative for beginners or casual hobbyists and DIYers. It is lightweight and battery-powered which ensure easy assembly and a high degree of mobility. This might not be relevant if it remains at a fixed place in your garage but it can be a huge advantage if you intend to use it at different locations.

The 9 amp motor provides sufficient power for most small woodworking projects. Thanks to the adjustable laser alignment, you can rely on a good accuracy when you are making fine cuts. The Ryobi miter saw can easily handle cutting molding but can sometimes have difficulty in rotation when it comes to the bottom base angle. Overall, it is a great value for beginners and casuals.

The design of the saw is small and compact and if the 7 ¼ inch size is suitable for your needs, you will likely be very happy with this machine at an inexpensive price. Customer reviews on Amazon back this up – they show almost only positive experiences after using the saw.

Ryobi 9 Amp 7-1/4 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser​

Sarah Jones

Features
Durability
Price

Summary

Great portable compound miter saw for small projects

Price: $

3.7

Hitachi C10FCH2 Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

  • 15 amp motor
  • ​Single bevel compound miter saw
  • ​Optional stand available
  • ​Horizontal and soft handle
  • ​Vibration reduction handle for comfort during use
  • ​Thumb actuated positive stops for quick and easy adjustments
  • ​0-52 degree angle range
  • Large extended flip fence with 4 inch raises for cutting crown molding vertically

The Hitachi 10 inch single compound miter saw can stand against the competition with its powerful 15 A motor which allows cutting even hard types of wood. Thus, users can easily cut crown molding vertically. It is also convenient and easy to use thanks to the horizontal handle and the built-in vibration reduction feature.

If you are a fast operator, you will probably like the feature of the “thumb actuated positive stops” and do not want to miss it again: this small piece of functionality will allow you to quickly stop the saw to make any adjustments you may need. There is also an optional stand available for this model. However, if you already have one, you might be able to continue using it – this model will fit with most miter stands.

Hitachi C10FCH2 Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

Sarah Jones

Features
Durability
Price

Summary

Our pick:
Great 10-inch compound saw, perfect for almost all jobs

Price: $$

4.3

Miter Saw Comparison and Final Verdict

When it comes to your DIY projects or your woodworking projects, a miter saw is a very handy tool! Whether you need to produce chops, bevels or other precise cuts, this type of saw will do the job. Check out our final verdict in the following table:

OUR RECOMMENDATION for a 12″ sliding compound saw A good 10-inch all-rounder compound miter saw
The ideal small, portable and inexpensive compound miter sawOUR VALUE PICK: A great 10″ all-rounder compound miter saw
Dewalt DWS779
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
(12 inches)
Homecraft H26-260L
Compound Miter Saw
(10 inches)
Ryobi 9 Amp 7-1/4 in.
Compound Miter Saw
(7 1/4 inches)
Hitachi C10FCH2
Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker
(10 inches)
Price: $$$
Rating: 4 / 5
Price: $$
Rating: 3.7 / 5
Price: $
Rating: 3.7 / 5
Price: $$
Rating: 4.3 / 5
Check current Deals on AmazonCheck current Deals on Amazon Check current Deals on Amazon Check current Deals on Amazon

We have introduced a couple of popular models in this review and hope that one of them fulfills your needs and requirements. Otherwise, feel free to reread the buyer’s guide again, reflect on your requirements for each of the criteria and check out the other miter saws on the market, e.g. on Amazon.

How to Become a Miter Saw Pro

When you have got you have got the perfect saw for your needs, you probably want to start testing it immediately.  Read the instructions and follow these steps to get your tool up and running:

Safety

First things first: make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe. Always wear goggles and other safety equipment when using the saw. Tie back any loose hair or clothing that may hang close to the running saw. Look at the safety features on the saw such as the blade guard and ensure you understand how it works and that it is operating normally. Never operate a saw without it.

If you are servicing or cleaning the saw and are working near the blade, always unplug the saw before lifting or removing any guards. If the saw is to be used in only one location, it is safer to clamp the saw to the workbench to stop any risk of it moving about due to knocks or vibration.

Practice

Test the saw with some scrap pieces of wood. Select some scrap wood that is long enough to be held in the saw safely but not so long as to be cumbersome. Very short pieces of wood are difficult to cut if they are too short to be able to be clamped down securely.

Mark the wood with a set or adjustable square and pencil before cutting. Clamp the wood onto the saw base. Make sure the clamps are tight enough to hold the wood securely while cutting. Learn how to adjust the cutting angles, the most common one being a 45 degree cut to make a right angle joint using two pieces of wood.

Practicing means it is less likely you will make mistakes when cutting the wood for your project. Your first runs are unlikely to produce the best results, so think of them as dry runs before you start your real project. Make sufficient cuts so you are happy with the functions and use of the saw

Advanced cutting

Once you have mastered the basics, if you have a compound miter, learn how the blade can be adjusted for different angles. Learn how to remove the blade and insert a new one.

Normal Use

Once you are familiar with the saw’s functions and use, you can go ahead and cut some wood for your project. Treat the saw well and keep the cutting area clean and tidy. While enjoying using your saw, always remember the most important thing is “Safety First”.

Conclusion

In this article, we have introduced the different types of miter saws and important features you will want to consider when choosing the best miter saw for your needs. We have also compared 5 of the most popular models and presented the pros and cons of each saw. To recap the results, here is a summary of our verdict.

OUR RECOMMENDATION
for a high-end 12″ sliding compound saw
Dewalt DWS779
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
(12 inches)
Price: $$$
Rating: 4 / 5
Check current Deals on Amazon
OUR VALUE PICK:
A great 10″ all-rounder compound miter saw
Hitachi C10FCH2
Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker
(10 inches)
Price: $$
Rating: 4.3 / 5
Check current Deals on Amazon

If you have made up your mind and ordered your new miter saw, you are ready to familiarize yourself with this versatile tool: Make sure you read our 4-step guide on how to use a miter saw and follow our detailed instructions for your first project.

Enjoy working with your new miter saw and feel free to share your thoughts in our comments section!

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